The GIMUN 2016 Annual Conference, held from March 7th to 11th at the Palais des Nations, in Geneva, gathered around 200 students for a model UN. In the next few days, we will have the honour of publishing reports on the six committees’ debates, brought to you by the journalists of the GIMUN Chronicles.
By Anaïs Anthoine-Milhomme, translated by John Ryan-Mills
The week of debates in the Security Council was certainly problematic. Kicking off with a discussion of the principles and definition of cyberwarfare, the States were interrupted by a major crisis. The attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, in Afghanistan, would lead to a series of disturbances within the Council. Debates were then centered on this crisis: how would the Council deal with such an important attack? How would they be able to help the hostages who still remained in the embassy? All this, without considering the accusations leveled at Pakistan, who were being held responsible for the deaths of the Indian, German, and Chinese ambassadors, as well as of many other citizens present in the building. However, the discussions went at a snail’s pace, like those about Cyberwarfare. As always, the countries were concerned above all with their own personal interests, as well as those of their allies. No consensus was made by the end of the first day of sessions, but all the while the hostages remained prisoners in the Embassy.
The debates resumed the next morning, but they were soon disrupted by a new crisis. The delegates learned that an Indian military plane had been shot down over Pakistani territory, fanning the flames between the two countries, who were already hurling abuse at one another. Furthermore, according to certain sources, the airplane was transporting an elite commando unit charged with rescuing the diplomats kidnapped in the Indian embassy in Kabul. A commando unit which was not approved by the international community. Reports received by the Security Council stated that the plane may have been shot down on the grounds of violating Pakistani territory, further increasing the tension between the two countries. For the other states, therefore, the main aim was to avoid the declaration of a conflict in between two states that were in possession of nuclear arms. But the news of the Indian commando unit was not without consequences. The next update given to the delegates showed them that their discussions had all been in vain: following India’s intervention, the terrorists decided to detonate several bombs within the embassy, leaving no survivors. The conversation then turned to the sanctions that could be taken against Pakistan, responsible, at least, for shooting down the Indian C-17 plane.
But when the Council reconvened, the States were still not aware of their responsibilities. An official text was still yet to be written. Russia aimed to establish an investigation designed to find the terrorists and, possibly, to prove Pakistan responsible. Deliberations were interrupted once more when another attack, aimed at the army, took place in Sharifabad Jammu and Kashmir in India. The attack claimed the lives of 35 victims, including women and children, the family of the military. Again, the conflict between India and Pakistan worsened, as Pakistan was once again blamed. The Security Council began to resemble a courtroom; but by refusing to cooperate with the international community, Pakistan played the role of the guilty party. The situation still did not improve when the states learned that India was organizing airstrikes on Pakistani soil. And even if these attacks were only to affect terrorist camps and non-state organizations, most countries saw this as an act of war. Pakistan again picked up the pieces when the Council members thought through the state of its government, the United Kingdom believing in a reversal of power by the army and by the terrorists. Pakistan again tried to pick up the pieces when the Council members looked into the state of its government, with the United Kingdom noting how power had been taken by the army and by terrorists. This further complicated the situation, and in the end came to nothing. Once more, by the end of the day, the Council had not acted.
Towards the end of the week, there was fresh hope for change. Would the Security Council finally manage to kick the habit and do what it was supposed to do? Thursday’s session began to pave the way for this change. The fashion now was to condemn India for its military action in Pakistan. But again, the debates highlighted the Security Council’s inaction when faced with the week’s first crisis. Indeed, the escalation of the Indo-Pakistani conflict was only due to members’ inability to make a decision. A breakthrough was finally made that day: Pakistan declared itself ready to cooperate, on the condition that the investigation was led by Pakistani authorities. Another demand was also added: that India too be condemned for its military action, agreeing with the day’s earlier discussions. And finally, at midday, a draft resolution was submitted to the Council, put into place by the members of the P5, and supported by other delegations. The most important points of the text were the demobilization of the Indian and Pakistani armies which were positioned close to their shared border, the assurance that no nuclear weapon be used in the case of the escalation of the conflict, and a military embargo imposed upon India. An investigation would also be opened in Pakistan, in order to locate the terrorists and their supporters. If Pakistan were unable to respect these conditions, the Security Council would call upon all of its members to cease any humanitarian aid destined for the country. Finally, some headway had been made!
The last day of session was the most difficult. Despite the significant progress made on Thursday, the delegates found themselves at an impasse. The necessary vote for the draft text was delayed as some countries were still fighting against certain elements of the resolution. Israel refused that India be sanctioned for its military action, while Pakistan pointed out what it believed to be flaws in the resolution. For India, some details had to be added, such as the indication of a time during which Pakistan would have to provide information for the investigation or its sanctions, in the event that the investigation revealed that Pakistan was in fact involved in the attack in Kabul. Proposals for amendments were also delayed, even as the final session rapidly approached. While the delegates had to vote for the resolution, they began to argue about an altogether different matter: the rules of procedure! The adoption of the text was therefore done in a rush, due to a lack of time, and above all under the order of the Secretary General of GIMUN, which broke the fourth wall somewhat. The Council wrapped things up on a sour note; the vice-president did not want to make the closing speech. Even if this was eventually carried out (at the request of the Secretary General, no less), the week had a somewhat lackluster ending. With the delegates spending their final session quibbling over trivial matters, the Security Council surely was the enfant terrible of the 2016 Annual Conference.